Along the shore where we stood, the trail happened to be littered with great skipping rocks (a rarity in the Sierra!) and Rafee and I spent a couple minutes lobbing rocks out onto the ice and reveling in the alien sounds produced.
We arrived at the crux of the climb where I had read that the standard route ran up the gut of this gully and was called “The Staircase.” I could indeed see the large 3-5 foot ledges and agreed that this was probably the easiest way up, normally. At that moment, however, the steps were buried in 3 to 12 inches of snow.
Alas, after several weeks of searching, I’ve been unable to find my SD card from this trip…
Iris shouted up “Ooh! AJ’s going for bonus points!” Apparently there was a much easier route down, but I was enjoying the climb and it seemed like the more complicated climbing was successfully distracting my mind from the pain in my legs.
Sean had written that he summited at 10:40 am, more than three hours earlier! Even better, according to the entry, he’d left some cookies for us!
I was ecstatic to make it to the summit and officially be a 5.easy climber!
At sunrise, I stopped briefly to take a few photos and check the elevation. We had climbed 1,500 feet, and I tried not to think too hard on the fact that this meant we were only about one quarter of the way up the pass.
The ridge comprised solid, trustworthy granite with plenty of features to climb and was pure fun class 3 climbing!
As I started down Bishop Pass I could hardly believe what I was seeing — the lakes which we had so hurriedly passed in the morning glum were now illuminated by the sun in various shades of blue and green!
If the rock were a little more solid this would have made for some fun climbing! Instead it was a bit too stressful to be pure fun.